by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Benji Radach says his upcoming fight with Scott Smith is going to be one of those fights that resemble a car crash movie – you know what you’re going to see, and you can’t turn away.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed Radach early for his first Showtime broadcast card on April 11 because Radach’s fights tend not to last. In 23 appearances, strikes have brought an end to all but five of them.
“I’ve never put on a boring fight,” Radach tells MMAWeekly.com I’m always going out there to battle and trade blows.”
Smith is a virtual carbon copy of Radach. Since his exit from the UFC in mid-2007, all of his bouts have ended – win or lose – in a hail of strikes.
“We both like to punch and knock people out, so I think we’re going to slug it out,” says Radach. “It’s probably going to be the fight of the night.”
Radach didn’t suffer the unemployment blues that fellow ProElite signees did, mainly because he was already working a full-time job as a corporate trainer for the LA Boxing franchise based in California.
After a frenzied 2007 stint in the International Fight League, he welcomed time off. Injuries had taken much of his time from the fight game – a broken jaw, herniated disk, fractured neck, and torn meniscus are but a few entries on his resume – and he needed time to recover.
His fight with Murilo “Ninja” Rua for EliteXC’s second CBS-televised effort, “Heat,” wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was vintage Radach. Late in the first, his big right hand found its mark and put Rua out.
The difference, he says, was that he had time to rest.
“It created an interesting fight – a lot less technical, because I just wanted to stay in his face and keep him on his heels so he wasn’t dangerous,” said Radach. “Because if you let those Chute Boxe guys start coming forward, you’re going to be in trouble. I think this fight will be a lot more technical, and it will be a fun fight.”
The challenge now is to manage a full-time day job with his fight career. True, he works for a fitness company, but he mostly sits at a desk. He trains before and after he goes to work. For a fighter in the minor leagues, that’s par for the course. But fighting some of the best in the world, it’s precarious.
“I just wish I could train more,” says Radach. “It’s hard fighting these guys at the top level, when I can’t get my recovery time. It gets pretty grueling.”
Coker thinks Radach has the potential to become Strikeforce’s next star, but he’s not taking it easy on him for his first bout. For Radach, his knockout loss to Matt Horwich – not traditionally known as a bruiser – was a wake up call. He realized if he didn’t have the fire, he could easily wind up on his back.
“I wasn’t myself,” he said. “That’s a hard fight to judge from.”
Radach says he’ll have to get something “taken care of” after Smith, but he’s healthy enough and ready to go. Currently, he’s training with Mohammed “Mo” Lawal and fighters at Team Quest South, and may take time off work to go to his old home at American Top Team.
On April 11, it’s just a matter of time before someone hits the canvas. Radach wants to prove Coker’s enthusiasm right.
“I know we’re going to clash,” he says of Smith. “Someone’s going to be knocked out or finished. I don’t see it going to a decision. That’s what makes fights interesting, is if everybody knows it’s not going to go to the end – it’s going to be a blast to see who gets who first.”